Reporting Tim Kephart
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BOSTON (CBSMiami) – It’s not like there’s any extra motivation needed for the Miami Heat, but the Boston Celtics may have added a little bit of fuel to the Heat’s fire with recent comments about the Heat’s 22-game winning streak.
The Celtics’ Jason Terry, who has no love for the Heat anyway, said, “Not really impressed with it (the streak) or anything that they do,” according to ESPN Boston. Pierce added, “I really don’t even care. I hope they lose every game the rest of the season. I just worry about what this team does.”
The Celtics and Heat have been the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference for the last several years and bad blood and great games have become the norm between the two squads.
Last year in the playoffs, LeBron James put together a 45-point performance where he almost single-handedly willed the Heat past the Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Finals. Then over the summer, Ray Allen ditched Boston for another chance at a ring with Miami.
“If there’s any group that would be motivated in a circumstance like this, it’s that team in green,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “I don’t know if the streak will be a big factor, but they love playing against us, and vice versa. That’s what happens when you meet a team consecutively in the playoffs.”
The Heat is tied with the Houston Rockets for the second-longest winning streak in NBA history after Sunday’s victory over the Toronto Raptors. For the Heat to get its 23rd victory in a row, it must beat the Celtics in Boston.
Incidentally, the Celtics ended the Rockets’ 22-game winning streak several years ago and currently have won 10 games in a row at home.
“I think we’ll be ready for it,” Dwyane Wade said. “We’ve got to get our rest and we’ve got to know we’re going to have a dog fight on our hands.”
The Heat has faced the Celtics twice so far this season. They blew out Boston 120-107 in Miami on opening night, then lost 100-98 in double-overtime on the road on Jan. 27, the day Boston learned that Rajon Rondo needed knee surgery.
“They played better than us for a large part of that game,” Spoelstra said.
Winners of two straight, the Celtics may be without veteran forward Kevin Garnett on Monday. The 15-time All-Star sat out Saturday’s victory over Charlotte with a strained left thigh and is day-to-day.
He and Pierce, along with the departed Allen, were on the Boston team that ended Houston’s 2008 run en route to capturing that year’s NBA championship.
“We have to treat them with the respect they deserve,” Spoelstra said. “Regardless of who plays for them, that’s a team that will come out with an incredible amount of urgency.”
Wade called the looming matchup with Boston “a great challenge.”
Heat forward Shane Battier, who played on the 2007-08 Rockets, inspired his teammates with a speech after their Feb. 3 win over Toronto. The 11-year veteran spoke again after Sunday’s victory, an address that Spoelstra called “passionate” and “pure.”
“Coach Riley gets paid close to six figures for his speeches,” Spoelstra said, referring to former Heat coach and current team president Pat Riley. “I don’t know what Shane should charge now, but he should get something.”
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